metamorphoSEA, Eleusis, Greece, 26-30 September 2023
Nighttown, Oulu, Finland, 17-19 November 2023
La Danse d’Amazon, Berlin, Germany, 23-26 November 2023
Members of the press are invited to attend upcoming events newly commissioned in the cities of Eleusis (Greece), Oulu (Finland and Berlin (Germany) as part of ULYSSES European Odyssey, the multi-arts programme inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses. The three-year programme runs until June 2024 and involves 18 cities in 16 countries from across Europe.
ULYSSES European Odyssey highlights the contemporary relevance of James Joyce’s landmark novel, with themes including citizenship and democracy; migration; youth; Europe’s ageing population; social media; food production and sustainability; education; religion and social co-existence; gender freedom; the environment; mental health; and neighbourhoods and community.
In Eleusis, citizen activism combines with environmentalism to confront the dumping of ships along the coast just 20 kilometres from Athens. In Oulu, they explore the issue of mental well-being in a country that has been named the happiest in the world. In Berlin, under a circus tent, they invite questions about the impact of commodification and the influence that Amazon has on people’s lives.
Information about the three productions follows. Members of the media wishing to join press trips to any of them should contact Ben McKnight as soon as possible by emailing [email protected], [if email is missing please refresh the page] or calling (44) 7716 778 850.
Co-produced by CHORUS and Brave New World Producties
26-30 September 2023
Presented as part of Eleusis European Capital of Culture 2023
metamorphoSEA is a site-specific artistic intervention inspired by the Eleusis coast, around 20 kilometres from Athens, and the dystopian ship graveyard in the Vlycha area, where dozens of ships have been dumped over decades to decay and rust with serious environmental consequences.
Co-produced by CHORUS, a non-profit organisation founded in 2016 by active citizens to bridge the gap between arts, education and social issues, and Netherlands based Brave New World Producties, metamorphoSEA is directed by Dutch theatre director Sjoerd Wagenaar. The new production is presented in collaboration with Eleusis European Capital of Culture 2023.
It focuses on mobilising local communities to imagine a better future and address environmental issues through cultural practices. Greek and Dutch artists are collaborating on the performance, as part of an international exchange of skills, practices and experiences.
metamorphoSEA responds to Oxen of the Sun, the fourteenth episode of Ulysses, which focuses on the sacredness of birth and purity. Eleusis was the city of goddess Demeter and home to the Eleusinian Mysteries; initiates attended the mysteries to overcome fear of death and personally experience a realm beyond the tangible reality of mortal life.
More information about metamorphoSEA can be found here.
Produced by Lumo Light Festival with Flow Productions
17-19 November 2023
Nighttown is a public art, illumination and performance show that reflects on the issue of well-being on Europe and responds to the fifteenth episode Circe, with its focus on dreams and the unconscious.
Taking place as part of Oulu’s annual Lumo Light Festival, Nighttown is directed by the award-winning dance artist Pirjo Yli-Maunula and co-created with the whole team of 15 artists from Oulu-based dance company Flow Productions. It combines light and video art with performance, including contemporary dance and circus, and the audience is invited to dive into the multi-sensory world of the subconscious, hallucinations and decadence. The new production is being presented in the former Finnish National Bank building, which has been closed to the public for decades.
The city of Oulu is in northern Finland, a country named as the happiest in the world. Oulu has 24-hour daylight in the summertime and a lack of sunlight in the winter months, which presents mental health challenges for people living there. Light festivals and other cultural interventions have been shown to have a positive impact on well-being.
More information about Nighttown here.
La Danse d’Amazon
Produced by Rimini Protokoll with Peng! Kollectiv
23-26 November 2023
Award-winning Berlin-based theatre group Rimini Protokoll have taken the seventh episode Aeolus – and ideas about news, information, misinformation – as the starting point to interrogate the influence of Amazon, the fetishisation of commodities, warehouse logistics and the torn dreams of the 21st Century, bringing together digital, multimedia and live performance, including theatre, dance and circus.
Performed in a circus tent, La Danse d’Amazon assembles the experiences of Amazonians, circus artists, theorists on money, commodities, experts for e-commerce, behaviourism, accelerationism, the situation of the Amazonas region, the rise of the biggest selling platform the world has ever seen – and the act of smiling. The 18 chapters of Ulysses are transformed into an 18-hour protocol of each days’ world markets and what is said about them, locating the traces of specific commodities within them, in mines, factories, in containers, websites and in the cloud. The core question of the project: What do we do for Amazon and what does Amazon do for us?
Rimini Protokoll are collaborating for first time with Peng! Kollective, with surprising interventions anticipated.
More information about La Danse d’Amazon here.
About ULYSSES European Odyssey
ULYSSES European Odyssey is a transnational and multi-disciplinary programme with a variety of events and interventions taking place in the 18 cities in 16 countries: Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Cluj, Copenhagen, Derry-Donegal, Dublin, Eleusis, Istanbul, Leeuwarden, Lisbon, Lugo, Marseille, Oulu, Paris, Trieste, Vilnius and Zurich.
The three-year ULYSSES European Odyssey programme includes 14 free public city events animating the democratic public spaces of modern cities, a key element of Ulysses. Individuals from all walks of life – from doctors to dancers, postmen to producers, shopkeepers to surgeons – are also being invited to come together at cross-sectoral public arts and society symposia in 16 cities. The aim is to create chARTer 309, a new democratic statement for the future relationship between the arts and society based on the 18 themes in Ulysses to be published in late 2024.
In addition, 30 artist exchange residencies are taking place, and 18 writers from different literary genres and from each city have been commissioned to contribute to EUROPE-ULYSSES, a new book also to be published next year.
Conceived by ARTS OVER BORDERS (Ireland’s acclaimed presenting body for cross-border arts festivals) and developed with Lead Partner Netherlands-based Brave New World Producties, working with partners in each of the 18 cities, ULYSSES European Odyssey is funded through an award from the European Commission’s Creative Europe Fund.
Events and activities have been inspired by the 18 episodes of Joyce’s Ulysses, which follows Leopold Bloom’s journey across Dublin over the course of one day. The last three words of the published text of Ulysses read ‘Trieste-Zurich-Paris’, the cities in which the Dublin-set book was written (Trieste 1914-1915 and 1919, Zurich 1915-1919, Paris 1920-1922). It was written at a time of dramatic upheaval and change, including World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic. Joyce was himself inspired by Homer’s epic poem Odyssey, written two and a half thousand years earlier, which plays out across the islands of the Mediterranean and was written as a response to the Trojan War.
In the 21st century, Europe also faces many challenges, including the impact of the Covid pandemic, economic uncertainty, migration and the environment. In the 18 cities participating in ULYSSES European Odyssey, artists and practitioners from cultural, heritage, environmental and other sectors have taken Ulysses as a starting point to think creatively about, develop work, and open up a space for dialogue about some of the most pressing issues affecting Europe today.
Details about the ULYSSES European Odyssey programme, which is divided into three acts, can be found on the website.
ULYSSES European Partners:
Arena Ensemble (PT)
ARTS OVER BORDERS (IE)
Blaagaard Teater (DK)
Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Theatre and Film (RO)
Brave New World Producties (NL)
Budapest Brand nZrt (HU)
Commune di Trieste (IT)
Critical+Xwhy Agency (LT)
Fundación Uxío Novoneyra (ES)
gethan&myles and Collectif ildi ! eldi (FR)
Lumo Light Festival (FI)
Museo Joyce Trieste (IT)
Museum of Literature Ireland (IE)
ONASSIS Stegi (GR)
Rimini Protokoll (DE)
Teatrul National Lucian Blaga din Cluj-Napoca (RO)
Vilnius City Museum (LT)
Yalan Dünya Films Ltd. (TR)